By S N Rao
The majority of the present day vedic astrologers regard both the nodes as malefic planets in a chart. Rahu is considered a greater malefic than Ketu and is seen as the most malefic influence in a chart. There is a sort of fear psychosis attached to the interpretation of the nodes especially among the orthodox vedic astrologers.
In Western Astrology Rahu is seen as a sort of Uranus and Neptune combined. It is supposed to carry the ilusionary, imaginative, hallucinogenic, dissolving, and disintegrating influence of Neptune as it is the planet representing Maya (illusory quality of nature). It is also seen as an eccentric, creative, disruptive, individualizing and revolutionary force that Uranus embodies in the Western system
Ketu is seen as a natural malefic with a nature similar to that of Mars. He is thus considered a lesser malefic and is seen as a more spiritual planet than Rahu, but he is often considered a bigger hurdle. Rahu is supposed to give
material success in some cases but often without inner contentment. Together they are seen to be the cause behind most of the psychological disorders, attraction towards the lower dark side of life, incurable diseases, possession by negative entities, sudden negative events etc
Rahu's appearance is being discussed because it is seen to affect a person's appearance when it is in a position to do so in a nativity. Rahu is supposed to be the second eldest among the planets but the face shows no such elderly characteristics. In fact it has a strange, hypnotic touch to its face which it imparts to the natives when placed close to the cuspal degrees of the first or the second house in a chart. Its face is said to be black with a smokish tinge in appearance. Such natives are usually dark in colour. Rahu is seen to represent tall persons. Any connection of Rahu with the ascendant or the 1st house adds to the height of the native. Rahu also has a predominantly airy constitution, which is usually associated with a wiry or lean physique. Two types of appearances represent the dual nature of Rahu - one that can give material prosperity and the other which gives material adversity.
It is seen that a lot of beauty queens who get sudden fame in contests have Rahu either on the cusp of the 2nd house or is associated with the 2nd house in some manner.
However all these negative tendencies have a positive side to them. For example the revolutionary nature of Rahu stems from its innate dislike for authority (Sun). When the authority is corrupt and mindless as is generally the case in present times, this revolutionary spirit becomes very important. Without a revolt both on an internal and external level no meaningful change can take place.
Rahu also gets influenced to a large extent by the planets it is associated with in a chart. Like Mercury it relays their energies without losing its inherent nature in the process. This mutable quality of Rahu is what makes it behave sometimes like Mars, Jupiter or even the Sun and the Moon. Rahu, when relaying the energy of Mars, appears more aggressive even though a certain degree of aggression is inherent in its nature. It can boost the Martian energy in a chart but can also cause perversion in many a case. Most of the unnecessary violence perpetuated on this planet has its roots in this perversion.' It has been noticed in observations that most of the charts of criminals of all types have Rahu influencing the energy of Mars in some way or the other.
Rahu can be considered to be the expert among the planets when it comes to scheming and plotting. It is the master of manipulation. That is why it can be said to be a better politician than Saturn. It comes as no surprise that the polity of Rahu is not always orthodox or bound by prevailing social standards. Insensitivity is a term that can be ascribed to Rahu in much the same way as Saturn. Rahu can be said to be associated with the dualities of nature and their subsequent fusion. It can be the deceitful, shady, untrustworthy sort of character when working through its lower aspect. Its energy is supposed to be behind all sorts of criminal tendencies, unlawful activities and perversions. Since law breaking usually leads to imprisonment, Rahu is considered to be the significator of all types of imprisonment and confinement as well. In some cases it is also responsible for the death penalty, torture or any other misfortune a native has to ordeal with. It is thus the significator of all the gangsters, criminals and other persons involved in the so-called underworld. Extortion and blackmailing are typical Rahu significations.
It is supposed to be the ruler of the Southwest direction. This means that Rahu will govern the south-west part of everything, from a house to a country. It is useful to note that in a chart, the 8th and 9th houses correspond to this direction.
Mining is one of the activities governed by Rahu. Rahu in a general way can be said to be the significator of all types of underground activities like exploring caves etc. Among the metals
extracted from the mining process Rahu has a special liking for iron and lead. It can thus be associated with the historical Iron Age. Rahu is also associated with iron alloys like steel. In India a special alloy made of 5 different metals called panchadhatu (five metals) is associated especially with Rahu. The rings, amulets and other totems made for propitiating Rahu are supposed to be made of this special alloy. Mica and asbestos are also considered Rahu significations. Among the gems it has special affinity for hessonite quartz. Brown agate and brown tourmaline are also Rahu gems. These find use in rings, amulets and other totems made for propitiating Rahu. It can be seen that people associated with mining of different metals and industries like iron and steel usually have some connection of Rahu with Saturn with the 10th house in their charts.
Rahu governs all sorts of poisonous chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides and disinfectants that are in used in the present times. It also governs all the substances with a strong pungent smell like the sulphur-dioxide gas. In other words Rahu has a role to play whenever a poisonous substance is involved. This includes all the vocations involving poisonous substances like making of toiletries, plastics etc.
All vocations that require an understanding of the pulse of the collective are connected with Rahu. Along with Mercury, Uranus and Neptune, Rahu governs the mass media and all the persons involved in it. Television personalities and movie stars all owe a lot to Rahu for their success. Today, even well known personalities in every vocation like politics, sports etc. require help from media (Rahu) for their fame and success Negative media can be a difficult force to deal with at an individual level as it can lead to instant infamy.
To conclude it must be said that Rahu is a representation of a cosmic force, which is necessary for the sustenance of the drama of life. We are free to term it demoniac or evil or whatever we wish, but the fact remains that this force is nothing but a display of all possibilities and extremes within the realm of existence. The fact that it is here to stay with us is relayed through the puranic legend of Rahu becoming immortal after having drunk the divine nectar. The force that binds us to the play of life can also relieve us of the bondage of time, if we only learn to see and respect it for what it is without any prejudices.